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Hunting season is just around the corner, and if you’re packing a rifle into the mountains, it’s time to get your shooting eye tuned up. The need to practice is obvious, but for many of us, hours and days on the range and reloading bench don’t always fit into the equation. Here’s an easy way that many of us can get our shooting fundamentals tuned up while minimizing both time and cost.

Most of us have at least one .22 rifle, and the classic plinker and squirrel gun is a great tool for practicing for your fall hunting season. Whether you’re a dedicated long-range shooter or only getting ready for the upcoming deer season, you can get a lot of valuable practice. Using a .22 to work on or develop your fundamentals is great for several reasons. Not only is the ammunition cheaper, but the lack of recoil allows you to focus on good shooting habits without developing a flinch. You will also save the barrel on your hunting rifle, as many hot-shooting cartridges have a relatively short barrel life compared to the trusty rimfire.

Simply plinking can be good practice, but if you practice methodically and consistently, you can track your progress and tangibly see how your shooting skills have improved.

If you have a place where you can shoot every day, you can complete a practice session in a pretty short amount of time. If you fire 5 groups of 5 rounds every day, you will go through a brick (500 rounds) of .22 ammo in just under one month, and just in time for hunting season.

Practice the same shooting positions every day and save your targets—be sure to write the date on them. You will be able to see how much your groups improve as well as tendencies you may have to throw shots a certain way.

It may seem silly, but try it, and I guarantee it will make you a better shooter. And you’ll have a lot of fun while developing your skills.

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